Petacchi now an Omega Pharma Quick Step rider, will make racing debut in one week’s time
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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Petacchi now an Omega Pharma Quick Step rider, will make racing debut in one week’s time

by VeloNation Press at 4:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
New lead out man for Cavendish is motivated: “To get back in the game with this great team is an incredible feeling”

Alessandro PetacchiMultiple Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España stage winner Alessandro Petacchi can officially don an Omega Pharma Quick Step jersey as of today, with the August 1st transfer deadline enabling him to complete his move to the Belgian squad.

The Italian quit the Lampre Merida team in April of this year, reportedly unhappy with his salary and conditions there, but claiming that he needed to dedicate more of his life to his family and also to seek new challenges. He initially announced his retirement but was soon linked to a move to the Omega Pharma Quick Step team.

That transfer was blocked by the UCI but in mid-July team manager Patrick Lefevere confirmed that Petacchi was on the wish list and that he would be able to compete with the team from August 1st, as per UCI rules.

Now 39 years of age, the sprinter is slowing slightly with age but has an important new role to play: being part of the leadout team of Mark Cavendish, who has felt that he needs more oomph in the buildup to final sprints.

“It's going to be a lovely moment,” Petacchi said of his debut with the squad. “In my career I've been lucky enough to experience some extreme thrills. To get back in the game so close to turning 40 with this great team is, however, an incredible feeling.”

Thanking Lefevere and the team’s board, he confirmed that he will make his racing start on August 8th in the Kortrijk criterium. After that, he will compete in a similar event two days later before then beginning the Eneco Tour on August 12th.

“That will be a perfect race to get back into the swing of things after an inactive period,” he said. “It may take me a while to get back into a competitive rhythm, but I can't wait to get started.”

Petacchi has been racing in the pro peloton since 1996. In addition to notching up almost fifty Grand Tour stage wins, he has also won races such as Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Tours, as well as the points classification in each of the three week events.

More recently, his win rate has tapered off with age, but helping Cavendish and others is a new motivation and one which replaces ambitions of personal success.

“I joined this team to take on a different role, to be a team player, especially when it comes to the sprints,” he explained. “The primary objective is to be useful to the team when necessary and to put my experience to the service of the younger riders.”

He’s also looking forward to the mood on the team, something which he feels will keep his motivation strong. “I haven't had much contact for the moment, but I have to say that the impression I get as an outside observer is that of a very tight knit team with a great staff,” he said.

“You can also tell there is a great team spirit. When the team embraced Matteo Trentin after his victory in the Tour, that is a beautiful example of it.”

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